note: entire contents copyright 2007 by Carl A. Rossi
Kiki DuRane … Justin Bond
Herb … Kenny Mellman
Are Boston audiences ready for KIKI & HERB: ALIVE FROM BROADAY, courtesy of the Huntington? Judging by its hearty reception on the night I attended, “yes”, but newcomers need a proper introduction. Kiki & Herb, a long-running New York cabaret act, are the dream-children of Justin Bond and Kenny Mellman: Mr. Bond portrays Kiki, an aging, boozy chanteuse; Mr. Mellman is Herb, Kiki’s accompanist and loyal sidekick. Through the years, their formula has remained the same: Kiki does her own unique spins on contemporary songs, reminisces about her colorful past and becomes totally plastered --- Herb, at the keyboard, cheerfully rolls with the punches. I missed their one-time performance, KIKI & HERB WILL DIE FOR YOU (LIVE AT CARNEGIE HALL); in ALIVE FROM BROADWAY (f/k/a ALIVE ON BROADWAY), Kiki explains why and how she and Herb continue to live on … and on … They are deliberately bad but intentionally funny and you may laugh so hard that you may not realize that the evening is also a character-study of two lost souls who are nothing without each other.
Keeping with the tacky aesthetics, Scott Pask’s setting consists of a giant leaf, clumps of moss, and Mr. Keebler’s oak tree now sawed into a star’s throne and a hiding place for booze; Kiki’s songs, which are not listed in the program, are as follows:
“Celebration” (Harvey Schmidt/Tom Jones) “Crazy” (Gnarls Barkley) “Make Yourself Comfortable” (Bob Merrill) into “Creep” (Radiohead) “Don’t Believe the Hype” (Public Enemy) “First Day of My Life” (Bright Eyes) “Walking the Cow” (Daniel Johnston) “King’s Crossing” (Elliot Smith) “Same Old Lang Syne” (Dan Fogelberg) “No Children” (The Mountain Goats”) “I Really Loved Harold” (Melanie Safka) “Patriot’s Heart” (Mark Eitzel) “Take Your Mama Out” (The Scissor Sisters) “Someone’s House Always Burns at Christmas” (Benjamin Smoke) “Forever Young” (Alphaville) Encore: “Total Eclipse of the Heart” (Bonnie Tyler)
… and the Huntington shows a bit of ankle by hosting them. You go, Old Girl!